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Anton Xavier

By: Anton Xavier on September 25th, 2018

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How Do Diets and Health Consciousness Impact Transparency?

Study  |  Transparency  |  FMI

“One-third of American households have a family member who is dealing with allergies, intolerances or sensitivities.”  —  FMI & Label Insight - The Transparency Imperative


Diet is the new norm

America is the land of opportunity, and it would seem, the land of change. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, “the average American consumed 2,481 calories a day in 2010, about 23% more than in 1970.” It is, therefore, no surprise that dieting is increasing, too. Today, almost one-half of American households have someone who is dieting or are on a health-related program, as stated in a new report produced by FMI and Label Insight, The Transparency Imperative.

This number is dramatic considering the type of impact that someone dieting could potentially have on the buying habits of an entire household - particularly if the dietary change had something to do with an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. For instance, I have had to change my household from traditional milk to alternative milk sources as a result of my wife’s lactose intolerance. A change that has made a considerable change to our buying and consumption habits.

When one considers that about one-third of American households have a family member who is dealing with allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities, it is easy to see how the shopper landscape is changing dramatically. With this change comes opportunity for brands who can react to address the new consumer needs.


Diet, health & transparency

Shoppers – and consequently households – that are influenced by specific diets inevitably become hyper information seekers, and are the leading edge of the transparency phenomenon. The Transparency Imperative reports that the vast majority (nine out of ten) of these shoppers are often searching a product label to ensure that it meets their diet or health-related needs. Almost the same proportion of people say that it is challenging to use labels to confirm that food products meet their dietary needs, so it is not surprising that almost nine out of ten of these shoppers are likely to access more information on a smartphone or similar connected device.

Just like general shoppers, ingredients and nutrition facts are important, but these shoppers are more likely to say product claims (such as organic, grass fed, fair trade, etc.), dietary claims (such as fat-free, high-fiber, etc.) and information about how a product was manufactured or grown are important to them. They also tend to express greater interest in information about sourcing of ingredients, production of ingredients and, not surprisingly, the diets a product may comply with.

The product package descriptions that have the biggest impacts on purchase behaviors of this group of hyper information seekers include:

  • no preservatives
  • high-protein
  • no added hormones
  • low sugar
  • low sodium
  • free-from artificial flavors
  • whole grains

“Almost one-half of shoppers are willing to pay more for a product that offers more in-depth product information beyond the physical label.” — FMI & Label Insight - The Transparency Imperative

Dieting is good for business

Clearly, the challenge for brands to comply with the demand for more transparency and more information both on the package and beyond the package can be daunting. However, it is important to also recognize the opportunity with taking a leadership position.

Shoppers who are focused on diets and health-related needs are generally the types of shoppers a brand and retailer will want to capture and make loyal. These shoppers are more likely than others to shop online, while more than half also visit at least three brick-and-mortar stores in a month. This translates to them typically spending more than general shoppers, averaging $136 per week.

Diet and health-related shoppers are generally more cautious, and are less likely to buy a product if they are not clear about certain ingredient information. And like general shoppers, where three out of four are likely to switch brands if they can’t get the information they are seeking, diet- and health-related shoppers are more likely than others to say they’ll pay more for products that provide in-depth information.

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About Anton Xavier

Anton Xavier is a Co-Founder and founding CEO of Label Insight, and works closely with the marketing and the senior management teams.